Like every other pastor in The Southern Baptist Convention, I start my days off with some AC/DC.
Okay, maybe I’m the only one. I should explain.
I’m at the gym every morning before the sun comes up, pretending like I know what I’m doing. This is a good time for a guy like me to go to the gym because not many people are there that early to laugh at me. It’s just me, and a few other guys that actually look like they belong there. They don’t say much to me. I think they’re intimidated.
Every morning, the same music is roaring out of the speakers in our gym. Apparently, somebody that works at our gym made a mix CD, really liked it and demanded that only it can be played over the speakers. The order of the songs usually changes but here’s the basic playlist.
TNT – AC/DC
Some Ridiculous Nickleback Song – Nickleback
You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
Simple Man – Some Lousy Band Covering a Skynard Song
Back in Black – AC/DC
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
No, I’m not kidding about Fast Car by Tracy Chapman and yes, it probably is the most depressing song ever written. I get the other songs. Guys that can bench press my truck tend to like listening to AC/DC while working out. But Tracy Chapman?
This week alone I’ve had to talk two different guys out of jumping off of the roof when that song came on.
In any event, whenever TNT comes on, I think about Bon Scott.
Bon Scott was the lead singer for AC/DC until he died at the age of 33, basically by alcohol poisoning and choking on his own vomit. When I was growing up, I learned about Bon Scott at church because he sang a song with AC/DC called Highway to Hell.
Hey Satan, payed my dues
Playing in a rocking band
Hey momma, look at me
I’m on my way to the promised land
I’m on the highway to hell
They don’t play that one at my gym. But they do play TNT. A lot. It’s mostly just a hard charging, braggadocious rock and roll song.
I’m dirty, mean and mighty unclean
I’m a wanted man
Public enemy number one
Every morning at the gym, I hear that song and think about how just a few years after he first sang those words, Bon Scott’s life would come to a humiliating end. Such is the fate of every man that chooses to boast in himself.
Herod Agrippa is another good example. His grandfather tried to kill Jesus shortly after hearing about the birth of the Messiah (Matthew 2:1-20) and his dad mocked Jesus and sent him back to Pilate where he would eventually be hung on a cross (Luke 23:6-16). Fighting the Christians was in Agrippa’s blood. This helps to explain why he killed James and arrested Peter (Acts 12:1-5).
Like so many men before and after him, Agrippa feasted on the praise of men and died a humiliating death because of that appetite.
Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
But the word of God increased and multiplied.
And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.
(Acts 12:20-25 ESV, emphasis mine)
This weekend, Christians will gather together to worship a humble Man (Philippians 2:5-7) who died a humiliating death (Philippians 2:8).
The church does not gather this weekend to grieve over a good man, a man that was the antithesis of Herod and Bon Scott, who lived a good life only to be cut down in his prime. Instead, we come together to worship the God Man who willingly gave up his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).
For Bon Scott and Herod, worship was self-centered and things ended badly. They tried to live like gods and died like most people do when they pretend to be gods. Jesus on the other hand, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:6-7). Paul continues in verse 8, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Earlier this week, I mentioned Bon Scott to my church. Most of them didn’t have a clue who I was talking about. There’s also not a lot of talk about the Herod Dynasty these days. Again, such is the fate of human gods. They die and they are forgotten about.
Jesus is no mere human god. His is the name that is higher than any other name and one day, at that name, every knee will bow and “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). Every name. Yes, even Bon Scott and Herod Agrippa. But for them, it will be too late. Their bowing and confessing will be as one who bows and confesses to a conquering enemy before being sentenced.
This Sunday, Christians all over the world will gather to willingly bow and confess before a man who died a humiliating death 2000 years ago but gloriously rose on the third day and still lives today as God.